My Style Story
Picture it, it was 1968 and I am sitting at the Hollywood Bowl with my mother, waiting to go on stage.
The sash above is pinned to my dress.
I am the only girl at the Hollywood Bowl with brown hair and brown eyes. And I know what that means, even though I am only five years old.
Knowing how poor we were I can only wonder where my mother got the money to enter me into this contest, let alone buy me a dress and shoes that were suitable.
Maybe my mother was hoping for some kind of miracle or a way out of the grinding poverty. I remember she tried to get me into commercials, but nothing ever came of it.
We are seated way in the back, so when it's time to go to the stage, I have to make my way down many steps.
As I get closer, my heart pounds more and more. I walk the final steps and make my way to my spot on stage.
Even at five years old I am wondering, "What will they think? Will they accept me, even though I am so brown?"
Standing there silently, with my feet together perfectly, I look down at my white patent leather shoes.
The judges pass me by.
They barely look at me and don't even smile.
I know what they are thinking.
I happened to be a mind reader at five years old.
The blonde girl next to me, the beautiful one, with the crystal blue eyes is the one they choose. She is the winner, not me; I am not surprised.
When I got back to my seat, I told my mother, "I didn't win Mommy". She smiles at me and assures me it is okay. But deep down I felt like I wasn't good enough. If only I had blue eyes and blonde hair, then I would be accepted.
I felt like a loser and it wasn't just about losing the contest and not being Little Miss America of 1968. I felt I wasn't the right color, and there wasn't much that could be done about that.
That is what Hollywood wanted back in the day. A blonde haired, blue-eyed little girl. That was the ideal and the mold seemed like it would never crack, let alone be broken.
I have to say I became obsessed with blonde hair after that. I thought there was no other hair color in the world besides BLONDE. No other hair color mattered, it was blonde hair that was the ultimate and desired by all.
I would stare at old photos of Marilyn I found in my mother's old magazines. She was ideal. She had blonde hair. I didn't know she was a bottle blonde.
More blonde roots...
My parents divorced when I was three, and I didn't see my father much growing up. The last time I remember seeing him was when I was around 8. He told me he would buy me a Barbie, and I couldn't wait to get it.
It was a big deal to get a Barbie doll, because they were expensive. I waited and waited for that blonde Barbie and when my father showed up on my birthday with a box, I knew what was inside.
As I ripped open the box to reveal the blonde little goddess, I noticed right away that she wasn't blonde at all.
My father had purchase the Barbie with light brown hair, like my own. He thought I would prefer that, I guess.
I will always remember how disappointed I was when I got that brunette Barbi.
My mother didn't understand.
Let's move forward now, to my middle school years, which was called "jr. high" back then.
My mother loved to put Sun-In on my hair, because it would turn the most amazing shade of gold.
She first put the Sun-In on my hair when we were sitting by Aunt Carol's pool, the rich blonde step-auntie that was now in my life and inspiring me in ways like never before.
I still remember that day, because that night I was left alone in the house, pretending it was my own. (for another post).
I got used to using Sun-In and lightening my hair when I was young. My mother would say to me all the time, "You should have been born blonde, it looks so good on you." I would get tan in the summer and enhance the blondeness further.
With the confirmation of acceptable blonde hair color from my mother, I spent a couple of decades lightening my hair, either through weaving or using a double process so I could achieve that incredible "ivory" shade of blonde that I loved so much.
I was known as a "blondie" and I knew every blonde joke there was. Even though I wasn't naturally blonde, some things I would do and say indicated that I was a typical blonde, and that added to the whole thing.
When I finally stopped bleaching my hair when I was 33, I couldn't believe the color my hair was. It was so shiny and healthy and so, so dark.
I would say it was the color of mink, and I fell in love with it and wondered why I had bleached it for so many years.
I regretted my blonde days and felt I missed out on enjoying my own natural beauty. But if someone would have suggested I go natural back when I lived in California, I would have told them to take a hike.
It wasn't until I moved to Oregon that I was able to break free from the blonde desire. It felt like I "had" to be blonde when I lived in California. Just like it feels like you need to drive a Jaguar or Mercedes there.
Today I am sporting a new blonde hair hat and when I first opened the box and saw the color, I was taken back at least two decades. This color and STYLE was EXACTLY what I wore back in the day. EXACTLY!
Wearing this brings back so many memories of my blonde days.
I wore the blonde hair hat all day and by the time the evening rolled around my daughter said, "You know, that color blonde you are wearing has really grown on me, I like it."
Thank you my daughter, I like it too.
But not because I don't like my own hair. I most certainly do.
I find it fun, however, to be able to toss on a hair hat and mix it up a bit.
This time I am blonde because it is fun and not because I don't feel good enough.
The great thing about style is that you can grow up through it. When you look back you can see what motivated you to do what you did.
How many of you out there have colored your hair and have you thought about why you did it? Besides the obvious of coloring grey, what other reasons motivated you to color all of those hairs on your head?
Thank you for joining me today.
See you next time!
Shirt: Ralph Lauren Skirt: Vintage Gucci Shoes: Miu Miu
Necklace: 1970's vintage Chanel Bag: vintage Chanel
Sunglasses: Tom Ford Plumped lips: City Lips, Toyko Kiss